Ivan Illich, Bonnitta Roy & the Convivial Life

new course

ILLICH WAS A POLYGLOT POLYMATH POST-PRIEST who mutated into a global philosopher-activist specializing in speculation about the forms of revitalized cultural intimacy that may be possible after a thorough deconstruction of modern educational, medical, psychotherapeutic, charitable & religious institutions.

Pause for breath.

He is also known for his analysis of iatrogenics (significant harm caused by the people trying to help).  Sounds perfect for a new Parallax course hosted by the increasingly audacious Bonnitta Roy. 

The Convivial Life (conversations with Ivan Illich & “friends”) is a four-week course starting September 10th 2023.  Bonnie will use her own provocative lens to place Illich in conversation with other audacious thinkers like Jan Zwickey, Jaques Ranciere, Timothy Morton, Donald Oliver, ee cummings, and other “surprising guests."

Here's what the official website says:

> The course aims to explore the philosophical teachings of Ivan Illich, a deeply religious and brilliant thinker who lived in a time when it was common for friends to share meaningful conversations about personal life and the state of the world. Illich’s ideas were often controversial and provocative, and he considered it his mission to build committed human ties by working through difficult issues by challenging the “conventional wisdom.” The course will use Illich’s provocations to catalyze a deeper understanding around the meaning of this world and how we live our lives in these times.

In a so-called Time Between Worlds, we need to rethink the basic principles that have caused our previously dominant forms of social, technological & psychological progress to produce so much collateral damage and increasing existential risk. 

The accumulating side-effects of traditional and modern assumptions about human improvement are staring us all in the face.  These seemingly reasonable and well-intentioned systems have their virtues, of course, but they also have many flaws,  Especially their inability to recognize and correct their own flaws. 

More information is leading to a crisis of knowledge.  More therapists are presiding over a mental health catastrophe.  Governments are mismanaging our future, thriving markets are producing economic insufficiency & healthcare providers are not incentivizing human and ecological well-being.  Yikes.  Either no one is doing their job (possible) or else the very nature of the assumptions we make about how to get things done is itself undermining our values, possibilities and futures.

That's where this course comes in.

Ivan Illich's oddly brilliant mixture of the medieval soul and the postmodern intellect is likely to merge perfectly with Bonnitta Roy's own simultaneous performances of ancient village sorceress & post-systems-theorist.  And for a touch of flavor, her expanded course description ends with the following poem from ee cummings:

a man who had fallen among thieves
lay by the roadside on his back
dressed in fifteenthrate ideas
wearing a round jeer for a hat

fate per a somewhat more than less

emancipated evening
had in return for consciousness
endowed him with a changeless grin

whereon a dozen staunch and leal
citizens did graze at pause
then fired by hypercivic zeal
sought newer pastures or because

swaddled with a frozen brook
of pinkest vomit out of eyes
which noticed nobody he looked
as if he did not care to rise

one hand did nothing on the vest
its wideflung friend clenched weakly dirt
while the mute trouserfly confessed
a button solemnly inert.

brushing from whom the stiffened puke
i put him all into my arms
and staggered banged with terror through
a million billion trillion stars


Follow this course with The Teratogenic Mystique -- a curiously ominous new Parallax course from Layman Pascal & Scout Wiley about “becoming monstrous" with the inhuman and transhuman facets of acausal magick, subtle weirdness, occult experiments in evoking the religion-that-is-not-a-religion, ritual play, unintelligible entities and all the truly uncanny mutations that gambol at the edges of our new wisdom-praxis discussions...
Words by
emerge is convening a field of metamodern praxis